A three-year starter — who followed in the footsteps of Chase Patton, a quarterback prospect the Vols pursued passionately three years ago before he inked with Missouri — Gray completed 55 percent of his passes for 2,000 yards and 16 touchdown as a sophomore. Last fall he completed 135 of 223 passes for 2,169 yards, 25 TDs and 10 INTs. He also picked up 300 yards and three touchdowns on the ground, using his 4.50 speed to turn potential losses into significant gains. The ability to avoid losses while maintaining favorable down-and-distance situations can't be overstated.
That dimension isn't lost upon offensive coordinators that constantly encounter pressure schemes from aggressive defenses. And such defenses are garden variety in the SEC jungle. That's why it's no surprise that Southeastern Conference teams such as Georgia, Florida, Auburn, South Carolina and Tennessee have weighed into this recruiting battle with scholarships waving high.
Gray is considering those offers along with offers from Missouri, California and Texas A&M. He doesn't currently list a favorite, although he was a Georgia fan growing up and took an unofficial visit to the "G-Day" spring game at Athens in April. Playing time will factor strongly into his decision and he will be in position to graduate early if he so elects.
"My schedule is definitely set up for me to graduate early," Gray told Scout.com's Chris Pool. "I've definitely thought about it and if the right opportunity comes my way or the right situation, I'll graduate early. We'll see what happens."
Tennessee also has offers outstanding to Tyrod Taylor of Hampton, Va., Joe Chaison of Beaumont, Texas, and G.J. Kinne of Canton, Texas. Both Taylor and Gray are rated four-star prospects while all four are regarded as dual threat QBs, as opposed to classic pocket passers. All four prospects are also listed as standing 6-2 or 6-1, while the UT's current crop of four scholarship signal callers are all listed as 6-foot-4 or taller.
Clearly the Vols are trying to add a dimension behind the center they lost when Brent Schaeffer left school and went on to become the top Junior College QB in the country. He signed with Ole Miss in February, and is now considered a Heisman candidate. If it's any consolation the Vols aren't scheduled to play Ole Miss for another six years.
Adding Gray would brighten the future for UT O.C. David Cutcliffe while eliminating a potential headache for Chief.